Saturday, 14 May 2011

Pimento Smile.

Pimento Smile.

Jigsaw, jigsaw under my bed
Rattling in boxes, fills me with dread
Jigsaw, jigsaw crying my name
“Piece me together, let’s play a game.”

Jigsaw, jigsaw hand reaches up
Scratches my leg, grabs at my foot.
I snap you together, corner to edge
Point at my parents, “Let’s make ‘em dead.”

Jigsaw, jigsaw capture your grin
Picture box monster, 100 piece sin
Jigsaw, jigsaw the final tile
Slices my throat. The pimento smile.

Originally posted on Lily Childs Feardom

Monday, 9 May 2011

No Ordinary Monsters.

The Work of The Classic Horror Campaign.

Remember a time when the darkness fell outside and the only source of comfort were the bright lights emitting from the Cathode Ray Tube in the corner of your living room? It may be cold, raining and brewing up storms outside those heavy curtained windows of your home on those nights, but inside it was a different matter. It was a different world. Inside, those bright television lights danced across the strangely patterned curtains chosen by your mum and dripped shadows of monsters down the walls. 

These were no ordinary monsters. These were the stuff of excitement and tradition. These were part of the fabric of your Saturday night growing up. As traditional as pyjamas after bath time and hastily arranged teenage parties when your friends parents were away a few years later. It was always a better fabric that the curtains your mum hung up anyway.

The continuity announcer would break through the futuristic stripes of the BBC2 logo and take us on a journey into the past. Sometimes as far back as a 1930’s black and white world of werewolves, vampires and ghosts. The BBC2 Midnight Movies, the double bills, the Hammer gothics and everything in-between.

This was the age of the classic horror on TV. We found films our parents, and sometimes grandparents, had watched in the cinema with their dates. A horror movie always ensured the girl would hold you tight. Just like you did to that poor teddy bear as you huddled up on the sofa, or a cushion if you were a little older and wanted to maintain a sense of cool.

We were treated to everything from portmanteau Amicus films to RKO classics. A short break between films or a less convincing Amicus or Hammer section of an anthology gave you the chance to pop to the toilet if somebody would volunteer to stand at the bottom of the stairs.

I know you may look at your harddrive or DVD collection and think you can watch these any time you want now. But cast your mind back to those golden days when you made a date with a sofa and a cushion to cling to. Wouldn’t you love that all over again? Wouldn’t you love to hear the announcer whisper details of the next scary instalment? What a great chance to go back in time for a few wonderful hours. What a chance to show those who were too young or not even born what delights television once gave us before the proliferation of mediocre shows over hundreds of channels.

All you need is one channel, one time, one night. Simple and magical. So help bring back the classic horror films to the BBC. You can do that by signing this petition or find out more details on This is the brilliant site that helps promote the campaign and is run by Richard Gladman and Amanda Norman. The campaign was set up by Richard who was later joined by Amanda to bring those supernatural nights back to our living rooms. Their work on this cause is tireless and breathtaking. They strive to do this not only for themselves but for all horror fans out there. The site gives more details on how you can help and is home to reviews of classic films to remind you, show you and bring back that feeling you thought you had lost forever...Classic Horror Film Night.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Interview With Shells Walter.

Shells Walter chats with author Anthony Cowin

What has been the most challenging for you as an author?
Besides this interview you mean? Connecting with people in the industry I guess. It’s a big old lonely world out there but thankfully social media is opening that up for creative people of all types. I can’t really say what is difficult about the actual process of writing though, because all the frustrating things, all the obstacles and hurdles are the same things that make it exciting. It’s the mystery and the puzzle that makes writing so rewarding. Now having that work find a home can be the challenging part though.

What attracts you to the Horror genre?
In simple terms I like the idea of anything being possible. I fell in love with horror after sneaking downstairs to watch the classic TV movies of the 1970’s. Films like, ‘Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark' and of course all the Hammer films that made the dark seem so glamorous and bright. We’re all scared of something so I guess horror lends itself perfectly to fiction. I mean fiction is about looking for answers and what greater questions do we have than those concerning our fears of death, illness, poverty, loneliness and all other aspects of life that keep people awake at night? The great thing about horror though, is that it offers a light in that darkness. It’s about fear and rewards. Once we confront the monsters in the shadows we feel empowered and stronger. I think that’s a great achievement for some made up little stories to have such an effect on people.

The Horror genre often involves things that are strange, feared and a lot more. What is the strangest and scariest story you have ever written?
I’m not sure if the writer can really answer that question. I expect we are too close to the levers and pulleys behind the story to really frighten ourselves. There are a few examples in The Futurist where I found it difficult to write with the lights low. I can only assume that’s a good thing for a horror novel though. Without giving too much away one involves a child being eaten by a very popular 1970’s toy. Another is a story about an old couple who find strange things in their eggs when they crack them into the frying pan. I’ve not had an omelet since I had the idea.

I also like to explore why we believe in ghosts and monsters. Why we not only create them but perpetuate the myths and folklore. I’d like to have a style that was along the lines of Richard Yates with monsters, if you could imagine such a thing. Tales of terror that examines the human condition, or the monster condition to be more precise.

What do you find most appealing about the short story format?
The speed of completion I guess. It’s nice to have an idea, write a draft, edit and then print off the finished product in a matter of hours. When I have an idea for a short story it usually arrives fully formed as though some twisted UPS guy has delivered it directly to my brain.
Of course I’ve had short stories that have taken me months or longer to complete, but generally they are quick. It’s also the way we can cut directly to the core of the subject. Short stories hardly need much setup before we are into the conflict and back out again with a resolution. 
I like that. I’m a great fan of the portmanteau film format, especially Amicus and Hammer’s 1970’s stuff. To have three or four short tales put together in the space of a normal feature length always seemed very gratifying to me. In fact it was my big brother’s love for things like The Twilight Zone and Stephen King’s short story collections that made me appreciate the power of the short form at a very early age. Then films like the Ealing classic, ‘Dead of Night’ and TV shows like Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected, Nigel Kneale’s ‘Beasts’ and the brilliant Brian Clemens series ‘Thriller’ really sealed the deal when I was growing up.

Where can some of your short stories be found?
I have several stories printed in Static Movement anthologies. ‘An Apple for Teacher’ in Something Dark in the Doorway. ‘The Beautiful Noise’ in Ghosts and Demons and a couple of flash pieces in the voluminous 365 Days of Flash. I have some work on Every Day Fiction and various other e-zines and sites. I also contribute to a great site called Spook City. Incidentally a story I had published on there last year called, ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’, reached the top ten on the Preditors and Editors ‘Best Horror Short Story Published 2010’ poll at this February.

In writing poetry, what do you find is the most difficult?
The short answer to that is writing poetry. It’s not a form I’ll ever be fully in charge of but it is one I truly love. I read and write poetry because I admire how each word needs to earn its place more than in any other discipline. Because of this words often have to have several meanings or link to other thoughts and ideas. If we can transfer that to prose writing then we have a leaner, sparser body of work that also has richer layers and depth. That’s the theory anyway.

Where can we find some of these poems?
You can find some on my blog site and I have a new one coming up on Every Day Poetry quite soon called, ‘The Machine That Makes You Dream’.

Can you tell us a bit about The Futurist?

The Futurist is the name of my blog where you can find news, updates and other goodies connected with my writing. I also write unique stories for the site that my followers can read.
I took the name from the title of the novel I’m working on at the moment. It’s my debut novel, in the sense it’s the first one I’ve haven’t locked in some deep drawer and then swallowed the key. I chose the title because it deals with the ideas of modernization and how that affects the world we live in and the people who inhabit that environment. We build shiny new cities and fill them with great new products and think it makes us immune to the past. Only time and again we discover the past is a place that’s impossible to escape from, as the abducted children in the novel discover, quite literally.
It’s a story about a boy who was murdered in the long hot summer of 1976 and his brother who escaped. We pick up the story when the brother is an adult and his own daughter goes missing. During his search he discovers his brother was abducted and taken to a darker place behind the screen of an old cinema. He needs to find a way through to rescue his daughter, but the projectionist has already started the countdown and time is running out to rescue his child and himself from the past.

When dealing with Marketing your own work, what do you find is the best way?
As mentioned the rise of social media has brought great resources to spread the word. Blogs and forums are also perfect, not only for reaching people with your work but interacting and learning from others too.

Where can people find out more about you?
At my blog called The Futurist the address is or email me at You can also follow my Twitter feed @TonyCowin or look check me out on Facebook if you want to be scared and see my pictures! Now that’s true horror right there.

Originally posted on Walter Rhein by Shells Walter. Check it out for lots of great author interviews and brilliant content.

The Bone Sword by Walter Rhein available to buy on Amazon.

Dominvs by Walter Rhein available to buy from Amazon.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Poetry Winner- 'Mr Glass'

This poetry lark is becoming a bit silly now. I've only gone and won the Writing Magazine 'One Word Challenge Poetry Competition' for April haven't I. The theme word was 'Glass' and the competition was judged by the brilliant Lily Childs.

I decide to write a personal poem with enough universal themes that appeal to a greater understanding. I wasn't sure if I'd achieved that balance, but the comments from the judge suggested that I had. The poem is called 'Mr Glass' and is based on a father who has an illness that takes him a step or two away from the normality of life and how that effects him and his children.

This could be any illness or any socially awkward state. In this instance I based it on the fusing spine syndrome known as Aknylosing Spondilitis. It's a form of arthritis that effects all the joints and leaves the person in constant chronic pain, fatigued and vulnerable to spinal breakage due to the fusing of the vertebrae into a long single bone. This also makes mobility and participation in those simple pursuits in life impossible or at least extremely difficult.

Yeah I'll stop all this fun talk now. Don't worry the poem isn't heavy and is actually my attempt to convey that despite all the difficulties this brings to everyday life it can be helped by love and an optimistic outlook on life.

Mr Glass

They see through me
And themselves reflected
They scratch me
Hopes turn infected.

I can’t move without pain
I can’t see my children
I can’t run through the grass
The cracks are building.

It’s transparent I’ve blown
The beads of my back,
And my fragile bones
Are made of glass.

They avoid me
I’m a curious delusion
They laugh at me
Draw their own conclusions.

I can’t sit down with friends
I can’t play games in the park
It can’t join with laughs
My slithers are sharp.

My leadlighted colours
Reflect as they pass
The moods of my anguish 
I’m ready to crack.

The sands have fused
The shine diminished
The pain of glass
Almost had me finished
But I remain with love
Those words that flattered
I’m Mr Glass
So close to shattered.

Lily Childs now has the first part of her short story series Magenta Shaman available on Kindle. Click to buy or download a sample here.

 Here blog can be found here- Lily Childs Feardom.

For more information about Ankylosing Spondilitis please visit NASS.

Paws: The Revenge.